Health funds unused

| May 19, 2017

A health development surcharge collected on all tobacco products in Bangladesh has remained unused, though nearly three years have passed since the government levied it, according to a story in The Daily Star.

The government imposed a one percent surcharge on all domestic and imported tobacco products from fiscal 2014-15, with the proceeds to be used for ‘treatment and rehabilitation of tobacco disease-stricken people’.

Since then, revenue officials have collected more than Tk6,000 million in surcharges, mainly from cigarette manufacturers, according to the National Board of Revenue.

However, delays in framing the Health Development Surcharge Management Policy have held up the use of the funds.

But there are signs of movement. Recently, the health and family welfare ministry prepared a final draft of the policy, which is due to be placed before the cabinet for approval.

Preparation of the policy draft was said to have been held up because of delays in getting opinions and recommendations from all the stakeholders involved.

And this delay has had consequences. “We could have used the money to control tobacco usage had we gotten the budget earlier,” a senior health ministry official was quoted as saying.

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Category: Breaking News, Regulation, Tax

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